“In response to independence movements in the north-east of India, special emergency laws were enacted (e.g. The Armed Forces (Special Power) Act of 1958). The implementation of this law is limited to areas declared as ‘disturbed’ by the central government in Delhi. However similar laws are also implemented at the state level by various state governments in India. The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1999, the Madhya Pradesh Special Areas Security Act 2001 and the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill 2007 are a few examples. These state/province-made laws have resulted in the militarisation of a large part of India. The militarisations in these areas are sponsored by the local state government by deploying ‘special armed forces’ recruited from the state police.” records the following insight into “torture and organised violence” in India, sent to us by the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights.
All of it raises the issue of even the largest democracy in the world being only procedural in its form, while in content, it is very repressive and on the path to authoritarian rule, in the name of national security. We therefore publish the full text of this write up on torture and organised violence for social discourse –
India is the world’s largest democracy with one of the best constitutions and is equipped with domestic mechanisms to fulfill the constitutional guarantees to protect human rights and dignity. However, theory is very different from practice. Internationally accepted human rights institutions are reporting continuously on severe human rights violations in India. Primary concerns are torture, caste discrimination, cases of starvation as a direct consequence of caste discrimination as well as abuse and discrimination of women. There is a widespread use of custodial torture in India. In the context of crime investigation suspects are tortured through beating, sensory deprivation, simulated drowning, electricity shocks, shooting, mental torture etc. to enforce confessions. Due to the absence of an independent agency to investigate cases, complaints are often not properly proofed and perpetrators are not prosecuted and punished. A blatant lack in human rights protection in India is the fact that the government has refused to ratify the UN-Convention against torture.
Torture is integral part of criminal investigation in India and considered as cheap and easy method in investigation. Brutal practices and the misuse of force is very common in the operation of the police across the country. It is tool of oppression used by those in the position of authority to threaten and intimidate detainees. The police and other security forces are given legal immunity from act of torture and extra-judicial killings under various legal provisions of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and section 197 of Cr.P.C. These immunities play significant role in the prevalence of torture and violence. However majority of the cases are seldom reported and inquired.
TOV and caste: Elitism is deeply rooted in culture and the police are deliberately made to function in ways that support the interest of the elite class and caste, in the name of order. Caste based discrimination still affects the life of a high percentage of Indian population and is practiced in the educational system, in places of work, villages and towns and even in courts of justice. The refusal of the police to investigate a case of caste discrimination is common. Schedule caste known as dalit are continuously facing atrocities and discrimination in all sphere of life, while accountability for the violation of dalit right was seldom established. The most heinous impacts of caste based discriminations are starvation and malnutrition. Acute poverty and cases of starvation occur especially in marginalized groups in the Indian society like minority communities, tribes and Dalits. Untouchability is still practiced across India and the dalit are continuously denied to access public place. From the very beginning the dalits are continuously deprived of land in-spite of many laws relating land. Abuses against dalits are numerous and take many different forms; they include (but are not limited to):
· Socioeconomic discrimination
· Beating, slashing, and other forms of torture
· Arson — the burning of Dalit communities
Demoralizing the lower caste is very common with a view to make them silence, so that they can not raise their voice. When a person from upper caste commits crime, after the trial the person is punished. However when it comes to the lower caste the entire community is punished. This punishment is not from court, but form the upper caste and the police provide its sound support in implementing punishment to upper caste. Indian Police learnt from practice of caste system of demoralization and community punishment and on the other hand most of the custodial torture, violence and death is committed against marginalized and deprived caste. Many dalit are tortured and subjected to humiliation and degrading treatment in public like garlanded with chappel and sandal, blackening face, riding over ass etc.
TOV and patriarchy
The discriminatory organized violence against women is one of the most relevant human rights issues in India. Experts report on severe gender based violence which includes domestic violence, dowry linked violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex-selective abortion. Though dalit are considered untouchable, yet rape of dalit women is very common by upper caste. Dalit women bear a triple burden; they are exploited by caste, class and gender. Discrimination of women is evident among others in the educational system, in political and public life and in the law. Violence against women is increasing rapidly. Apart from above violence, the women are victim of violence by securities forces and armed opposition groups, traditional justice delivered by panchayat and cruel cultural practices like sati, honor killing and witch hunting.
State terror through Anti-terrorism legislation
In response to independence movements in the north-east of India, special emergency laws were enacted (e.g. The Armed Forces (Special Power) Act of 1958). The implementation of this law is limited to areas declared as ‘disturbed’ by the central government in Delhi. However similar laws are also implemented at the state level by various state governments in India. The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1999, the Madhya Pradesh Special Areas Security Act 2001 and the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill 2007 are a few examples. These state/province-made laws have resulted in the militarisation of a large part of India. The militarisations in these areas are sponsored by the local state government by deploying ‘special armed forces’ recruited from the state police.
Communal violence and caste
India is secular state and person is free to adopt any religion and act according to the rituals of that religion. However concept of secularism is being disturbed many times by extremist group, which outcome is Sikh massacres(1984), Mumbai rioting(1992-93), Gujarat genocide (2002), Dargah rioting (2006) etc. The irony is that the police supporting the extremists by targeting innocent people and the politician are playing game in the name of showing sympathy. There is lack of political will to prosecute the perpetrators of the violence. Apart from this many innocent people charged under POTA. So the minorities are facing from three fold like: attack by majority community, attack by police and charging innocent under POTA.
New discourse in anti-TOV initiative:
In the colonial era the feudal system existed and it was based on “rule of lord” instead of “rule of law”. The unjust and undemocratic system is governed through colonial Police law made in that era so the police is still acting according to “rule of lord” and clearly denying the concept of welfare state.
Now a day, Indian society is still remains in semi-feudal and semi-capitalist mode of production and caste system serves this perfectly. The danger faced by the caste dictatorship created a new link in communal Hinduism fascism and imperialism. There is need that all the progressive power must join hand to crush Brahmanism from its roots so that Manu’s patriarchal dictatorship may not persist and flourish.